Wambaya language

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Native to Australia
Region Barkly Tableland, Northern Territory
Ethnicity Binbinga Indigenous Australians
Native speakers
92  (2006 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 Either:
wmb – Wambaya
nji – Gudanji
Glottolog guda1245[2]
AIATSIS[3] C19, C26, N138, N121

Wambaya is a Non-Pama-Nyungan West Barkly Australian language of the Mirndi language group[4] that is spoken in the Barkly Tableland of the Northern Territory, Australia.[5] Wambaya and the other members of the West Barkly languages are somewhat unique in that they are suffixing languages, unlike most Non-Pama-Nyungan languages which are prefixing.[6]

The language was reported to have 12 speakers in 1981, and some reports indicate that the language went extinct as a first language.[7] However in the 2011 Australian census 56 people stated that they speak Wambaya at home.[8] That number increased to 89 by 2013 (http://www.ethnologue.com/language/wmb).

Nordlinger believes that Wambaya, Gudanji and Binbinka are dialects of one language.[9]


  1. ^ Wambaya at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
    Gudanji at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Gudanji–Binbinga–Wambaya". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Wambaya at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies  (see the info box for additional links)
  4. ^ Nordlinger, Rachel. (1998), A Grammar Of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia), p. 1.
  5. ^ Ethnologue
  6. ^ Nordlinger, Rachel. (1998), A Grammar Of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia), p. 1.
  7. ^ Bender, Emily M. (2008), Evaluating a Crosslinguistic Grammar Resource: A Case Study of Wambaya, p. 2 
  8. ^ http://www.censusdata.abs.gov.au/census_services/getproduct/census/2011/quickstat/SSC70177?opendocument&navpos=220
  9. ^ Nordlinger, Rachel. (1998), A Grammar Of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia), p. 3.